Seedlings - Lights, Camera, Problem!
I inherited a light fixture for my seedlings and I am thrilled about it. My husband is equally thrilled because we now have our dining room table back. However, my seedlings were not so thrilled about their new environment.
We moved the seed trays to the basement last Saturday so the light fixture could hang from a joist easily, as the basement is unfinished.
By Monday morning, I noticed a change in the happiness level of some of my babies. They were feeling little blue (well, purple) from losing their old home. They were pouting (not growing), too. Most of the tomato plants and all of the marigolds now had purple coloring on their leaves. The underside leaves and stems of the 'maters were now a not-so lovely shade of violet.
As for the marigolds, the tops of the marigold leaves were now tinged purple.
I've never experienced this deep, dark, purple issue and I was worried. All this hard work down the drain?? No! After researching quite a bit online and at my local organic gardening and hydroponics store, I've come to the conclusion that my poor baby plants suffered from a phosphorus deficiency due to cold soil. As you know, I've been feeding them at every watering with Smart Tea so I doubted it was a lack of nutrients. I learned that if the soil temps fall (as my chilly 55* basement provides), the phosphorus is unavailable to the delicate root system.
I purchased two seedling heat mats (one that fits 4 trays and one that fits 2 trays) for about $130.
On Saturday, one week after moving them to the basement, we padded the floor with some foam puzzle pieces and hooked the seed mats up. The heating mats raise the soil temperature to 10-20* above the ambient temp. And they're waterproof so you can go ahead and quench your babies' thirst without fearing electrocution.
It's currently about 28 hours later and I think (or is it just my hopeful wishing?!) that the purple tint has lessened. I will continue to monitor this situation closely and report back.
Could it be something else? Sun-scorch? If you have experienced this problem, I'd love to hear from you.